When I went to see Jennifer’s Body several weeks ago, I was hoping screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno) would deliver a feminist punch to infuse the horror genre with some (much needed) revisionist ideas. Sometimes it’s not a good idea to have too many expectations. While there were flashes here and there that suggested a desire on the part of filmmakers to revise some of the sexist conventions of the form, the film failed to offer a coherent ideology and was a bit boring and silly by turns on top of that.
I went to Zombieland this week without such lofty expectations, and thought the film struck just the right tone. There is silliness, to be sure, but it fits this story and is used to good effect. I haven’t seen any prior work from director Ruben Fleischer or writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, but they understand the zombie genre and know what it takes to satisfy an audience looking for some laughs and a fresh perspective on the subject (provided here in part by a hilarious celebrity cameo). Zombieland won’t make my top ten list of the year, but it is good for a laugh. It’s better to have a film exceed your expectations than fall short.